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Two Felony DUIs This Week in South Carolina

Man Charged with Felony DUI after Accident Killed a Child

felony DUIAnother Richland County traffic accident turned fatal on the evening of Tuesday, June 18th. This brings the total deaths in traffic accidents up to 30 for the year. Unfortunately, this death was due to felony DUI.

According to reports from the South Carolina Highway Patrol, 24-year-old Justin Johnson of Columbia was driving west on Park Lane Road around 11 PM when his car ran off the side of the road and hit several trees. A 15-month-old boy, whose name has not been released, was restrained in a child safety seat in the vehicle. When the child was transported to a local hospital, where he died from his injuries.

Johnson has been charged with felony DUI, as well as child endangerment, and simple possession of marijuana. He is currently in the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center and it is unclear if he has an attorney.

Teenager Charged with Felony DUI in Death of Woman in Florence

An 18-year-old has been charged with felony DUI after his vehicle struck another vehicle on Saturday, June 15th, and killed the driver.

Nicklas Surls was arrested for the fatal wreck in Florence. He has been charged with one count of felony DUI with death results, and one count felony DUI with great bodily injury results.

According to the South Carolina Highway Patrol, the driver and a passenger in a 2013 Dodge four-door vehicle, attempted to make a left turn on Palmetto Street, when Surls struck the vehicle. Both the driver and the female passenger were rushed to the hospital, where the passenger was pronounced dead from the accident.

It is not clear if Surls has an attorney.

Felony DUI Laws and Penalties in South Carolina

  • A person will be charged with a felony for driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or both, if while operating the vehicle under the influence, the person causes “great bodily injury” or death to a person other than himself including a passenger, pedestrian, another driver.

  • Great bodily injury is defined by the state of South Carolina as bodily injury, which creates a substantial risk of death or which causes serious or permanent disfigurement or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.

  • Additionally, if the injured person dies from related complications (such as a coma) within three years of the DUI-related injury, the driver may be implicated in the death.

  • Upon conviction of a felony DUI by jury, the accused faces a minimum mandatory prison sentence and fine.

A felony DUI conviction for causing great bodily injury includes a mandatory minimum of 30 days to a maximum of 15 years imprisonment, plus a mandatory fine of at least $5,000, not to exceed $10,100. Also, the DMV must suspend the convicted person’s driver’s license for the term of imprisonment plus three years.

The Strom Law Firm Can Help with Felony DUI Charges

If you face DUI charges, whether it is your first charge, or felony DUI, you could feel alone and afraid. Just because you have received DUI charges does not automatically mean that you are guilty. The attorneys at the Strom Law Firm have helped people who face DUI charges since 1996. We offer free, confidential consultations so you can discuss the facts of your case with impunity. Contact us for help today. 803.252.4800.



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